Investigation Team: Carin Bell, Jeremy Bryant, Chris Butts, Dave Miller
Investigation Date: 2015
My first time ghost hunting at Licking County Jail. Thank you to Carin and her father for inviting me to join their investigation team.
HISTORY: The Jail was built in 1889, the county’s fourth jail. When constructed, the jail was lauded as the best and sturdiest jail the state of Ohio has ever seen. It operated for 99 years closing in 1987 due to updated state standards and overcrowding. The three floors in front of the building were originally intended to be living space for the Sheriff’s family and a matron.
The jail had 34 cells, two bunks per cell, allowing for 68 inmates. The old county jail had a drunk tank in the basement and solitary confinement and two “dungeon” rooms. Male prisoners were kept in cell blocks on the first three floors. The first floor was for felonies and violent crimes. The second floor was for non-violent crimes. The third floor was for misdemeaners. Female prisoners occupied the fourth floor cell block.
PARANORMAL CLAIMS: Throughout the years the jail saw many tragic deaths, suicides, murders and accidental deaths. Four sheriffs, including three consecutive, had fatal heart attacks in the same bedroom.
The ghost of Mae Varner, who set herself on fire, is seen on the fourth floor cellblock. The apparition of prisoner Walter Robinson has been seen on the first floor cellblock.
Carl Etherington, a detective with the Ohio Anti-Saloon League, came to Newark in 1910 to raid saloons for serving illegal alcohol. He shot a local salon keeper in self-defense and was taken to the jail. A mob stormed the jail forcibly removing Etherington. The mob hanged him from a telephone pole in the town square. Claims of paranormal activity such as sounds and EVPS are heard in his cell.
The Lewingdon brothers, better known as the “.22 caliber killers” murdered 10 people across three counties in central Ohio. Occasional evidence is recorded in their cell.
INVESTIGATION: The jail supervisor gave the four of us an informative tour providing us with detailed history of the jail and paranormal claims. The supervisor remained in a control room that had cameras set up to view many areas of the building including us. The team took photos, video and EVP’s throughout the jail. The basement solitary and dungeon area were very creepy. Oddly, my camera stopped working in the basement and I could not get it to work the rest of the night.
At one point, I excused myself from the group and went to the second floor, Cell 25 where Carl Etherington was forcefully removed and hanged outside by a lynch mob. I sat in the darkness for 20 minutes but picked up no EVP’s nor unusual sounds.
FINDINGS: Ghosts do not come out on command. No evidence was found. The history of the jail and of the city over the past 150 years was fascinating. The “Ghost Adventures” TV show investigated the jail the year before us and Zak and the crew autographed a wall.